While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
– Matthew 12:46-50
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
“I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
– Luke 12:4-12
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
– John 15:9-17
In Matthew 12, Jesus is calling those around Jesus His mother, brothers, and sisters. In Luke 12, Jesus addresses His audience as His friends. He defines the requirements to be a friend of Him in John 15 during the Last Supper.
Rev. A. W. Tozer wrote in Men Who Met God, “It is well for us to remember that Divine-human friendship originated with God. Had God not first said ’You are My friends,’ it would be inexcusably brash for any man to say, ‘I am a friend of God.’ But since God claims us for His friends, it is an act of unbelief to deny an offer of such a relationship.” Later in the same book, Tozer wrote about the champions of faith, in the Bible and since. “Is it not that indeed they had become friends of God? Is it not that they walked in conscious communion with the real Presence and addressed their prayers to God with the artless conviction that they were truly addressing Someone actually there?”
Have you been there? Have you had a moment when you could feel God’s presence? Ask yourself, right now, do you feel the presence of Almighty God, standing or sitting next to you?
When you grow in the faith and walk that adventurous journey of faith, you get to know God better, and you get to know yourself better. With God’s power within you, your limits are far beyond what you can yourself imagine.
And when you are doing God’s will on this earth, you can accomplish great things for God is your friend and Jesus is your Brother (Matthew 12:50).
You see, all who truly call on Jesus as their Lord and Savior get the “Friends and Family” discount. Too many people who claim to be Christians say that they are satisfied if Jesus leaves the back door open for them to get a basement apartment in heaven. Those are words of a sinner who can conceive that God’s love can forgive him/her, but can this person forgive themselves? No. Accept God’s forgiveness. We are brothers/sisters of Christ, and we are friends of God.
Yes, when we come into God’s presence in heaven, it will be so awe inspiring that we will probably drop to our knees and cover our faces. I heard one man say that he wouldn’t do that. He’d walk right up to Jesus and shake His hand. When I heard that, I thought, “What utter arrogance!” But if we are friends and family, why not? Right after we fall down in awe before God, Jesus will be there to lift us up and embrace us and call us ‘brother.’
And as you walk along the path of your journey of faith here on earth, what will Jesus say when people meet the two of you along the way? He might coin a phrase from Boys’ Town. “He ain’t heavy. He’s my brother (or sister, as the case may be).”
Soli Deo Gloria, Glory to God Alone